City to review downtown parking meter contract

The days of free on-street parking in downtown Tacoma appear to be numbered. This week, Tacoma City Council will consider a resolution to authorize a contract between the City and Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), Inc. that would begin the process of installing electronic pay stations in the central business district.

Members of city council’s environment and public works committee will hold a special meeting Tues., May 18 at 10 a.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 248, to discuss the contract before the resolution is voted on during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting at 5:00 p.m. in council chambers. City officials say the pay stations will “improve the turnover of downtown on-street spaces making it easier for customers and visitors to conveniently find on-street parking to shop, dine and participate in other activities.”

If the contract is approved, it will kick off the first phase of a three-phase process to install electronic pay stations to cover 150 parking spots from South Seventh Street, Market Street, South 21st Street, and Dock Street is expected to begin in August near the University of Washington Tacoma (the final two phases will be completed in September).

Last year, Tacoma City Council authorized the implementation of a paid on-street parking program. A 12-member advisory task force was created to come up with a plan for collecting feedback from downtown stakeholders, communicating those comments back to City Hall, and rolling out the plan. A series of public meetings have been held over the past 12 months.

On April 14, Kurtis Kingsolver, engineering division manager for the City’s public works department, updated Tacoma City Council’s environment and public works committee on the process. According to Kingsolver, drivers will pay for one- to two-hour parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the designated area Monday through Saturday. The fee will begin at 75 cents per hour, but will likely be adjusted as a target market rate is reached. Kingsolver said the pay stations have been ordered and the City is finalizing a contract with its vendor, Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier Index coverage inaccurately reported 1,500 pay stations would be installed. We regret the error.

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of this issue, click on the following links:

Downtown drivers closer to paying for parking —

City Council considers consultant for downtown parking program —

Public parking strategy meetings will help shape the future of downtown parking —

City Council committee gets early glimpse of downtown parking recommendations —